So this is how the fictional Carringtons and Ewings live.
Inspired by the Four Seasons Georg V Hotel in Paris, The Palace at Coral Gables luxury senior living rental community puts the ‘O’ in opulence.
Twilight “stars” flicker over a swimming pool. Chandeliers sparkle. Marble floors spill forth from a winding staircase. Even the refrigerators in the residential apartments are layered with wooden cabinetry, hand-picked by co-owner Helen Shaham.
“I wanted it to look like furniture,” she says.
She tells how the gold ochre marble on the second floor took two years to cut and place after she spotted a design in Spain. She points to an ornate table centered atop the pattern. “That table has to fall exactly there,” she says.
“We just want perfection, that’s it,” Shaham says of the $100 million project on Andalusia Avenue — its price tag affirmed by Mario García-Serra, the GreenbergTraurig attorney who was instrumental in putting the project together since its 2005 inception.
The facility is the latest public/private venture in Coral Gables and one that addresses the needs of its senior citizens, a growing group that represents more than 20 percent of the city’s population.
“Several years ago, the City Commission identified the area of which our seniors were leaving our community when they sold their houses and we didn’t have a place for them to stay,” said Vice Mayor Bill Kerdyk Jr. “The commission identified this location as one where we wanted a senior citizen facility. This really helps us to revitalize our Miracle Mile and downtown area. There are 200-plus seniors living downtown who will patronize our shops. It’s a win-win for the city.”
Coral Gables also owns the land and pockets a base rent that starts at $120,000 in The Palace’s first year and will climb each year until it reaches $250,000 by year 15. It then remains at that rate to the 31st year, when rent will go to $255,000 and increase by 2 percent annually. The facility has a 99-year lease with the city.
The Palace at Coral Gables expands the empire Helen and husband Jacob Shaham have been building since 1980. The Palace Group has independent living, assisted living and nursing and rehabilitate care residences in Kendall, Homestead, Weston and Tel Aviv, Israel. The couple’s children Zack and Haim work with the family run company, which houses 1,800 seniors and employs 1,200.
The Gables site employs about 80, who staff the gym, clinic, kitchen and bars, concierge desk and valet, along with a full-time activities director, personal trainer, nurses and four chefs. When The Palace Coral Gables is full it will provide home to about 240 residents. Sixty people now live in the facility; 70 percent of the units have been sold, said Adam Rosenblum, marketing and sales vice president.
Most of the residents are independent, though the third-floor one-bedroom and studios offer catered living arrangements for those who have more health and medical needs.
Living here is for the well-heeled. Monthly rent runs from $4,620 for a 476-square-foot studio to $7,650 for a 1,110-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath apartment.
As part of the package, residents get a continental breakfast and dinner — a buffet lunch is $8 extra — utilities, weekly housekeeping, transportation to doctor’s offices and shopping, and more than 150 activities, which include Zumba, Tai-Chi, afternoon teas, sculpture and creative writing classes, meditative drum circles, bingo and happy hours. There also are theatrical performances and concerts.